Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Brydges, John

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BRYDGES, Sir JOHN, first Baron Chandos (1490?–1556), eldest son of Sir Giles Brydges or Brugges (d. 1511) of Coberley, Gloucestershire, by Isabel Baynham, is stated to have been born about 1490, but the date was probably earlier. He was descended from the Giles Bridges who married Alice, the daughter and coheiress of Sir John Chandos (d. 1430), the last male representative in the direct line of the ancient Chandos family. He was knighted in France in 1513; accompanied Henry VIII to Calais in October 1532, when Henry visited Francis I; was with Henry VIII at Boulogne in 1533; was appointed constable of Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire, in 1538; attended Henry VIII as a groom of the privy chamber when the king received Anne of Cleves in 1539; was at Boulogne in 1544, when he was appointed deputy-governor of the city; and in 1549 was fighting there against the French. He was a rigid catholic, and on Mary's accession became lieutenant of the Tower of London. Through the first half of Mary's reign he took an active part in public affairs. In February 1553–4 he was engaged in repressing Wyatt's rebellion, and, after vainly attempting to obtain an order from the queen to fire the Tower guns on the insurgents who had gathered on the Southwark side of the river, himself directed the gunners to begin the attack. It was thus that Wyatt was induced to leave his position and march on London by way of Kingston. On 8 Feb. Wyatt was placed in the custody of Brydges, who handled him somewhat roughly. Brydges attended his prisoner Lady Jane Grey to the scaffold on 12 Feb., and was so charmed by her gentleness as to beg her to give him some memorial of her in writing. She granted the request by inscribing a very pathetic farewell to him in an English prayer-book, which is now in the British Museum (Harl. MS. 2342). On 18 March the Princess Elizabeth was placed in his keeping, but she was removed on 19 May in consequence of the lenience which he displayed towards her (Burnet, Reformation, ed. Pocock, ii. 580). On 8 April 1554 Brydges was created lord Chandos of Sudeley. Ten days later he made arrangements for the execution of Wyatt, and in the following June resigned the lieutenancy of the Tower to his brother Sir Thomas, whom Bishop Ridley and other prisoners of the time mention as frequenting Sir John's table and aiding him in his duties during the previous months of the year. In February 1554–5 Mary addressed an autograph order to Chandos to superintend the execution of Bishop Hooper at Gloucester (Wood, Letters of Illustrious Ladies, iii. 282–5), and on 21 March 1555–6 he is stated by Foxe to have been present at Oxford at the death of Cranmer, but the evidence of an eyewitness of the execution makes it clear that Chandos's brother Sir Thomas took his place there. Chandos died at Sudeley Castle 12 April 1556, and was buried with heraldic ceremony on 3 May in Sudeley Church (Machyn, Diary, Camd. Soc. pp. 133, 356). He married Elizabeth, daughter of Edward, lord Grey of Wilton, who died 29 Dec. 1559, and was buried (3 Jan. 1559–1560) in Jesus Chapel, afterwards St. Faith's, in St. Paul's Cathedral. An epitaph in English verse, printed by Stow, was engraved on her tomb (Stow, Survey, ed. Strype, iii. 145).

Edmund, the eldest surviving son, succeeded to the title; married Dorothy, daughter of Lord Bray; served in France in Henry VIII's reign; fought at Musselburgh under Somerset 27 Sept. 1547, when he was created a knight banneret, and at St. Quentin in 1556; became K.G. 17 June 1572, and died 11 Sept. 1573. George Gascoigne wrote a poem in praise of his eldest daughter, Katherine (Percy Ballads, 1765, ii. 150). Giles, son of Edmund, born in 1547, became third lord Chandos; was M.P. for Gloucestershire in 1572; entertained Queen Elizabeth in 1592 at Sudeley, where the queen had visited his wife 4 Aug. 1574; married Lady Frances Clinton, and died 21 Feb. 1593–4. His wife lived till 1623, and was buried at Cheyneys. Giles died without issue, and was succeeded as fourth lord Chandos by his brother William, the father of Grey Brydges [q. v.]

Sir Thomas Brydges, the first lord Chandos's brother, and his successor in the lieutenancy of the Tower, was in 1548 steward of the hundred of Chadlington and of the royal manors of Burford and Minster Lovell, and keeper of the forest of Whichwood and of the parks of Longley and Cornbury. Edward VI granted him many abbey lands. He resided at Cornbury, and was buried at Chadlington in 1559. His son Thomas was drowned off London Bridge on 10 Aug. 1553 (Machyn, Diary, p. 41; Stow, Chronicle). Richard, another brother of the first lord Chandos, was knighted at Mary's coronation (2 Oct. 1553); was sheriff of Berkshire in 1555–6, and, as one of the commissioners for the trial of Julius or Josceline Palmer at Newbury (16 July 1556), made ‘a gentle offer’ to the prisoner of meat, drink, books, and 10l. yearly if he would live with him and renounce his errors. Palmer declined the offer, and suffered at the stake. Sir Richard died in September 1558.

[Dugdale's Baronage; Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, ed. Brewer and Gairdner; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–90; Sir S. E. Brydges's Stemmata Illustrata, p. 99; Cooper Willyams's History of Sudeley Castle, 1790; Chronicle of Calais (Camd. Soc.), pp. 42, 176, 177; Machyn's Diary (Camd. Soc.), passim; Chronicle of Queen Jane and Queen Mary, pp. 18, 53, 57, 76; Wriothesley's Chron. (Camd. Soc.); Froude's History of England; Nichols's Progresses of Eliz. i. 543, iii. 136.]

S. L. L.